Discover your why

Connecting your values to your business


“Values are like fingerprints.  Nobody’s are the same, but you leave them over everything you do.”

– Elvis Presley

Learning Objectives

In this chapter, we examine how personal core values can help determine your businesses core values.

This chapter will help you:

  • Identify the difference between personal and business core values.
  • Define values that will help guide your business in the future.

In the previous chapter, you have spent some time reflecting.  You have determined a list of your core values.  When starting out your own business it is important to also identify your companies values.  Just as they do personally, your companies values will guide the decisions it makes and the direction it will take.  Having a concrete understanding of your companies values will attract customers, investors, and employees.

If your company has a definitive list of core values, you have a set of guiding principles that will help:

  • Guide your hiring practice

  • Attract customers

  • Unite your employees

  • Direct future goals and vision

In the beginning, you will find that your personal values and your company values could be the same thing, you and your company are one.  As you grow you will find that your company values will grow, evolve and change as well.

Make no mistake, your personal values and company values will always be closely related but the company will begin to take a life of its own.  There will be others involved in the company, in the day to day decisions, and in its health.  There will come a time when you may want to consider bringing others into the values creation process.

Linking your values to your company

The video above offers some insightful statistics.

Purpose and values driven organizations outperformed the general market and comparison companies by 15:1 and 6:1, respectively

– Jim Collins

It is not only essential that you, as a business owner, understand what your core values are but that everyone who is connected to your company does as well.  A set of core values can act as a playbook for your employees, acting as a guidebook or a code of conduct.  A comprehensive set of core values can also help people understand what your company stands for and gives them something concrete to align their own values.

At best core values become the bond, the common purpose that everyone in the company pursues and the meaning they all define with everything they do.

Previously, you wrote out a list of your personal values.

Using the worksheet below, sit down with the list and write out 2-4 values that you are passionate about.  When you have done that determine how those values could link to your potential (or current) business.

Click on the image for a PDF download.

Once you have your top values you need to ask yourself, does your business embody those beliefs?  If it does, write out how your business allows you to live out your values.  If it doesn’t ask yourself how you can connect your values to the business.

What if your business makes it impossible to live according to your values?  This is the time you want to consider a renovation.  It might be time to take your business back to the drawing board and find a way to align it with your values.  This may mean making some small changes, but it also may mean making some drastic changes.  Either way, a business that is guided by a set of values will be more rewarding than one that is not.

Once you have determined your businesses core values you’re ready to start thinking about the next step, figuring out your WHY.


  1. Print out the PDF worksheet.
  2. Take some time to reflect on 2-4 personal core values that you could see being important for your business.
  3. Write down the core values and describe how these are integral to your business idea.


  1. Positive revolution. (2017, September 3). The importance of having core values for your business. []. Retrieved from


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Entrepreneurial Leadership for the Trades Copyright © by Chad Flinn and Tim Carson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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